DEFENSE AND SPACE
Global Aerospace | June 06, 2022
As we ring in the New Year, many of us like to think big. How can we have the most impact in the new year? How can we recruit and provide the best people with the best tools, training and motivation to excel? How can we find the resources to accomplish all of our grand ideas floating like sugarplums though our holiday-spirited minds?
Here is one of mine. I think it is long overdue, and I’d like to invite you to join in with me.
Pretty much everyone in our industry knows that aviation mechanics are the unsung heroes of aviation. But that understanding has never seemed to migrate into providing the same kind of focused, world-class training or rock star recognition that the "other folks" get.
You know, the ones that sit up front, push a few buttons, and take credit for getting from point A to point B. Not to dismiss the efforts of these highly trained and skilled professionals that fly, but it has always seemed odd to me that the ones who are behind it all and maintain these finely tuned technologies seem somehow to fade into the background of our collective minds.
Of course, when something goes wrong with a maintenance task, everyone is quick to recognize it—the panel that fell off in flight or the landing gear pin that was left installed. With the millions of maintenance sequences that occur around the globe every week, it’s amazing we don’t see more of these.
Let me be clear about what I see: Millions of flights across our industry take place safely without significant recognition of the people who make it happen. It’s time we take notice and celebrate these men and women as rock stars in their own right.
A Tough Time for Technicians
The airworthiness of aircraft has never been in better hands, but the entire system is severely stressed right now, making it an extremely tough time for professional technicians. COVID protocols, flying schedule upheaval, proficiency concerns, financial questions and a host of the other basic mental health matters the entire world is dealing with make the error-free work needed to ensure airworthiness a very tough task. We must respect and mitigate this risk. And since I operate under the philosophy that none of us is as smart as all of us, I’m casting a wide net.
Industry-wide, I’m declaring 2022 as “The Year of the Aviation Mechanic,” with the idea of bringing all available resources to bear in support of these tireless professionals during these challenging times. Operators, OEMs, MROs, academia, insurance companies and other special interest groups all can play a valuable role in a coordinated effort.
This might end up being nothing more than a symbolic gesture. Or it could gain momentum and become a powerful tool to improve the airworthiness and professional readiness across our industry. Time will tell.
Right now, I’m a lone voice with a big idea. But with just a little help to get the ball rolling, we might be able to highlight the incredible work, opportunity and rewards that come with the job, and recruit the next generation into a culture of proud, compliant, professionalism.
So, here is what I am asking.
Think about what the industry needs to improve the recruitment, training and performance of professional maintainers. Write down your list and send it to me.
Think hard about what you can do, where you are, to support our maintenance professionals during this challenging time. Take the actions available to you. Share what works.
Join in the year-long effort to create sustainable improvement across the industry. Towards that end, we have some events already in mind.
Convergent Performance will fund, develop and deliver a worldwide celebration and online symposium on the past, present and future of these doggedly persistent men and women who “keep ‘em flying.” This is tentatively planned for June 2022, so stay tuned for more developments and outreach for presenters and ideas.
Additionally, we will seek out partners and contributors to make this more than a one-day event and provide sustainable improvement ideas for those who are in small organizations who might not otherwise have the resources to take advantage of advanced training opportunities.
About Global Aerospace SM4 Aviation Safety Program
The Global Aerospace SM4 Safety Program has revolutionized the way insurance specialists help their clients achieve higher levels of operational safety. SM4 was built on the concept of integrating four critical safety components: planning, prevention, response and recovery. Its mission is to help organizations manage risk, enrich training efforts, strengthen safety culture and improve safety management systems.
Axiom Space | May 26, 2022
Axiom Space, a leader in human spaceflight currently building the world's first commercial space station, has signed a memorandum of understanding with the Italian government to further their existing collaboration, including the potential for the development of space infrastructure integrated with the future Axiom Station. The agreement was signed by the President and CEO of Axiom Space, Michael Suffredini, and Italy's Minister for Technological Innovation and Digital Transition, Vittorio Colao, on 19 May in Rome, Italy.
While the MOU is exploratory in nature, areas of cooperation outlined in the agreement include mutual definition of potential user requirements as well as technological solutions and operational concepts for an Italian module that could later be developed and integrated into the Axiom Space Station. The project could take the form of a public-private framework with the governance and business models developed over time. Other areas of cooperation include collaborative development and implementation of research supporting space exploration and technology, including advanced materials, pharmaceuticals, on-orbit manufacturing, space security, aerospace medicine, simulation and robotics, and other areas of mutual interest as determined by the two parties, as well as training and mission operations.
The MOU – a first-of-its-kind approach between the Italian government and a private international corporation - is the latest effort between Italy and the Houston-based Axiom Space. Earlier this year, Axiom announced Italian Air Force (ItAF) Colonel Walter Villadei as the company's first international professional astronaut. He is currently in training in Houston. Col. Villadei has been selected by Axiom as a backup on the Ax-2 mission, and an initial agreement has been signed for a reservation on a mission targeting late 2023. Based on ItAF's significant competencies in the field of astronautics, modeling and simulation, and aerospace medicine, such a mission will allow the implementation of multidisciplinary scientific and technological experiments from the Italian research and industrial community and will further strengthen the relationship being established under the MOU just signed.
Together, these agreements between Axiom and Italy demonstrate the promise and viability of business to government (B2G) relationships that can help grow and expand the commercial space economy across multiple industries and market sectors. A Joint Working Group, composed of representatives from Axiom and institutions and industrial representatives appointed by the Italian Government, will pursue the implementation of the MOU.
"As one of the first European countries invested in the International Space Station, this agreement with the Italian government will bring an experienced partner to Axiom Station, helping to open a new paradigm as we build this next generation microgravity platform in low Earth orbit. The MOU is a significant addition to Axiom Space's long-standing relationship with Italy and reflects our shared commitment to expand global access to space and grow the LEO economy while advancing science and technology to benefit all of humanity."
Axiom Station will provide the international community with a modern, efficient, and cost-effective space infrastructure that enables microgravity research, further technological developments, and operations to continue seamlessly after the ISS end of life. The collaboration between Axiom and Italy will harness microgravity for the development of advanced scientific research, innovative technologies, on-orbit manufacturing, and space exploration.
"The agreement intends to deepen cooperation for the development and implementation of projects in the aerospace sector…[it represents] the enrichment of the excellent and historical bilateral relations between the United States and Italy, with cooperation also in the field of commercial space flight seen as an opportunity to develop a new chapter of the human presence around the Earth and on the Moon for the benefit of the whole humanity", according to a statement released by the Italian government.
The agreement with Italy adds to Axiom Space's list of recent accomplishments in its efforts to grow the commercial space industry. Earlier this month, Axiom Space celebrated the groundbreaking at the company's new, long-term headquarters at Houston Spaceport, which will be home to the development and construction of Axiom Station. Axiom Space also recently welcomed home the Axiom Mission 1 (Ax-1) crew after successfully completing the first all-private astronaut mission to the ISS. The company has also signed agreements with several nations, including Hungary and the United Arab Emirates to fly on future space missions.
About Axiom Space
Axiom Space is guided by the vision of a thriving home in space that benefits every human, everywhere. The leading provider of human spaceflight services and developer of human-rated space infrastructure, Axiom operates end-to-end missions to the International Space Station today while privately building its successor, Axiom Station, the first permanent commercial destination in Earth's orbit that will sustain human growth off the planet and bring untold benefits back home.
Volocopter GmbH | June 09, 2022
Today at the UP.Summit, an annual gathering of leaders in transportation innovation, urban air mobility pioneer Volocopter announced that it has achieved another milestone to bring UAM to life: its fixed-winged passenger aircraft, the VoloConnect, completed its first flight in May 2022. This accomplishment makes Volocopter the only eVTOL (electric vertical takeoff and landing aircraft) developer worldwide to have an entire fleet of distinct aircraft configurations undergoing flight tests.
Volocopter's third product solution, the VoloConnect, offers further and faster journeys than any other Volocopter aircraft to date, with a range of over 60 mi and flight speeds above 155 mph. The passenger plane's extended range and higher payload will bring business travelers and commuters beyond the city center on routes like Burbank to Huntington Beach in Los Angeles, CA. With the VoloCity and VoloConnect air taxi designs fulfilling demands for metropolitan flights and suburban connections in densely populated regions respectively, Volocopter is ready to serve a broader range of passengers' flight needs. The VoloConnect is targeting a 2026 entry into service, while the VoloCity is targeting commercial launch in 2024.
"Having a whole family of electric aircraft in the test flight phase is a pioneering feat. Volocopter's leadership in the industry stems from announcing plans and then delivering on them visibly with public test flights. Our technology platform is the foundation for our family of aircraft approach and has proven to deliver results at an astounding speed. Volocopter is bringing these innovative designs off the ground, into the air, and then to cities worldwide!"
Florian Reuter, Volocopter CEO
A dedicated team in Munich, led by Sebastian Mores, Chief Engineer, VoloConnect, is responsible for this success to bring the VoloConnect prototype to life. "This is an extraordinary moment for us – seeing the VoloConnect soar to the sky marks the achievement of one of our key milestones and demonstrates just what we are capable of in a short time and in line with the company's overall strategy for crewed and uncrewed aircraft. Furthermore, new technologies will be tested that will gradually be implemented during the overall program development," said Mores.
Volocopter designed the VoloConnect and its other eVTOL aircraft to meet the highest aviation safety standards according to EASA (European Aviation Safety Agency). The prototype completed its first flight in May 2022 after just 17 months in the making and performed a few maneuvers for 2 minutes and 14 seconds during its first flight. The prototype has all the planned aerodynamics and performance features of the future commercial product.
The VoloConnect is a lift-and-cruise aircraft optimized for missions beyond the urban and suburban space. Keeping moving parts to a minimum, its six rotors facilitate vertical takeoff, while two electric fans in combination with uplift-creating wings ensure high forward speeds. Its prototype is currently passing a demanding series of flight tests to verify that the aircraft and its systems are in line with performance limits and prepared for the subsequent development. This phase encompasses low-speed, transition, high-speed, and engine failure testing for automated and later autonomous flights – all standard-issue tests for eVTOL passenger aircraft manufacturers. Within the first three test flights of this campaign, the team was able to verify a significant portion of the eVTOL's envelope with forward speeds up to 40 mph and 28 mph sideward flight speeds during tests.
VoloConnect is poised to boost Volocopter's total addressable UAM market, alongside its existing aircraft family members, the VoloDrone and VoloCity. The technological differences between the VoloCity and VoloConnect passenger aircraft abound. Important to note are their unique designs for their specific flight missions, with the multirotor VoloCity air taxi poised to serve intracity routes, while its larger lift-and-cruise sibling will focus on longer urban and suburban missions.
Volocopter is building the world's first sustainable and scalable urban air mobility business to bring affordable air taxi services for goods and people to megacities worldwide. Volocopter leads and cooperates with partners in infrastructure, operations, and air traffic management to build the ecosystem necessary to 'Bring Urban Air Mobility to Life'. With over 500 employees in offices in Bruchsal, Munich, and Singapore., Volocopter has raised $579 million in equity from investors including Geely, WP Investment, Mercedes-Benz Group, Intel Capital, and BlackRock..
DEFENSE AND SPACE
Sabre Corporation | July 08, 2022
Sabre Corporation a leading software and technology company powering the global travel industry, has successfully integrated IATA New Distribution Capability content from Qatar Airways to its global distribution system. After a pilot phase with agency customers in Australia and Sweden, the offers of Qatar's flag carrier will now be rolled out successively to travel agencies across the globe starting oavian July 7, 2022.
Travel agencies will be able to shop, book, and manage NDC offers from Qatar Airways. Access to Qatar's content will be available through Sabre Red 360, Sabre's agency point-of-sale tool, as well as its NDC-enabled Offer and Order Application Programming Interfaces.
"We've been actively engaged in Sabre's Beyond NDC program for several years and we're proud to be the first carrier based in EMEA to make our products and offers available to the global travel agency community through Sabre's marketplace. With NDC as a part of our strategy to evolve our offering and enhance ancillary sales, we believe effective distribution in the indirect channel will become more important in the future."
Matt Raos, senior vice president of global sales at Qatar Airways
With Qatar Airways' extensive network of destinations, access to the carrier's unique NDC content is expected to be relevant to travel buyers across the globe in the post-COVID-19 recovery period and beyond.
"As the corporate travel sector continues to recover, customers are looking for enhanced shopping experiences and improved content in their marketplace," said John Bukowski, vice president of distribution, content and sourcing at American Express Global Business Travel. "Our objective is to ensure that our customers and travelers have access to the broadest content and an unrivaled travel experience. We are excited about collaborating with Qatar Airways and Sabre to continue to evolve our customers access to content while delivering the servicing and experience they expect from American Express GBT."
NDC is one aspect of Sabre's strategic goal to create a new marketplace for personalized travel, with some key developments expected for 2022. Dynamic air pricing for NDC offers is anticipated to become available with the recently launched Air Price IQ ™ product within the Sabre Retail Intelligence suite, which will enable airlines to optimize offers in real-time with machine learning and data analytics capabilities based on airlines' unique strategies and needs. As an NDC aggregator and airline IT provider, Sabre is now included in the Airline Retailing Maturity (ARM) index from the International Air Transport Association (IATA). Radixx, which provides solutions for low-cost carrier airlines, is also expected to become certified under the ARM index later this year as an airline IT provider.
"We've always said that NDC is a marathon, not a sprint," said Kathy Morgan, vice president of channel delivery for Sabre Travel Solutions. "We believe that realizing the potential of NDC is a collaborative effort, and we are excited about the progress we are making with carriers like Qatar Airways. Alongside strategic efforts like Sabre Travel AI ™, as well as the launch of our Retail Intelligence suite of products, these NDC achievements expand and progress our opportunities to advance personalized retailing."
About Sabre Corporation
Sabre Corporation is a leading technology provider to the global travel industry. Sabre's software, data, mobile and distribution solutions are used by hundreds of airlines and thousands of hotel properties to manage critical operations, including passenger and guest reservations, revenue management, flight, network and crew management. Sabre also operates a leading global travel marketplace, which processes more than US$120 billion of global travel spend annually by connecting travel buyers and suppliers. Headquartered in Southlake, Texas, USA, Sabre serves customers in more than 160 countries around the world.
About Qatar Airways
A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was announced as the 'Airline of the Year' at the 2021 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organization, Skytrax. It was also named 'World's Best Business Class', 'World's Best Business Class Airline Lounge', 'World's Best Business Class Airline Seat', 'World's Best Business Class Onboard Catering' and 'Best Airline in the Middle East'. The airline continues to stand alone at the top of the industry having won the main prize for an unprecedented sixth time Qatar Airways currently flies to more than 150 destinations worldwide, connecting through its Doha hub, Hamad International Airport, voted by Skytrax as the 'World's Best Airport 2022'.